Joe Palca http://krwg.org en Build A Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not http://krwg.org/post/build-toothbrush-change-world-or-not Some people dream of climbing Mount Everest or riding a bicycle across the country. <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-davidson-rdh-bsdh/68/a46/417">Mike Davidson's dream</a> has been to create the perfect toothbrush, and now he thinks he's done it.<p>The saga of this brush tells a lot about the passion and persistence to take an idea and turn it into a product.<p>Shots first <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/12/27/168080635/the-quest-for-the-perfect-toothbrush">introduced you</a> to Davidson in 2012. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Joe Palca 73446 at http://krwg.org Build A Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All http://krwg.org/post/where-we-learn-artificial-eyes-really-arent-round-all Almost every time reporters go out on assignment, they run across something unexpected that they just can't fit into the story they're working on.<p>When science correspondent Joe Palca and producer Rebecca Davis were in Boston reporting on a boy with a rare form of cancer, they found themselves in the office of <a href="http://www.jahrling.com/Jopi/AboutJopi.htm">Jahrling Ocular Prosthetics</a>, a business dedicated to making artificial eyes.<p>Joe and Rebecca spoke with Joyce and Eric Jahrling, two of the four Jahrlings who work at this family firm, and learned some surprising things about m Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Joe Palca 72376 at http://krwg.org Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool! http://krwg.org/post/transformer-paper-turns-itself-robot-cool Every so often, a scientific paper just begs for a sexy headline.<p>Consider this study in the current issue of <em>Science</em>: "<a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.1252610">A Method for Building Self-folding Machines</a>." A bit bland, you'll no doubt agree. <em>A Real-Life, Origami-Inspired Transformer</em> is how the journal's public affairs department referred to it. Thu, 07 Aug 2014 18:03:00 +0000 Joe Palca 72177 at http://krwg.org Transformer Paper Turns Itself Into A Robot. Cool! Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers http://krwg.org/post/close-encounters-radio-kind-mystery-bursts-baffle-astronomers Astronomers have a mystery on their hands. Two large radio telescopes, on opposite sides of the planet, have detected very brief, very powerful bursts of radio waves.<p>Right now, astronomers have no idea what's causing these bursts or where they're coming from. And nothing has been ruled out at the moment — not even the kind of outrageous claims you'd expect to see in tabloid headlines.<p><strong>Australian Recordings Inspire Curiosity And Doubt</strong><p>The first report of these "fast radio bursts" appeared in 2007. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:35:00 +0000 Joe Palca 71333 at http://krwg.org Close Encounters Of The Radio Kind? Mystery Bursts Baffle Astronomers Rosetta Spacecraft Readies For Rendezvous With Comet http://krwg.org/post/rosetta-spacecraft-readies-rendezvous-comet <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=Rosetta+Spacecraft+Readies+For+Rendezvous+With+Comet&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDAxODc0NzU5MDEyMTgyMDUxMzlkN2IzMw004)"/></div><p>Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>Next month, the European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe will catch up with a comet, which it has been chasing across the solar system for a decade. Once there, the Rosetta probe will take pictures, make measurements and drop a probe down to the comet's surface. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 71002 at http://krwg.org If They Want To Make Anything, Proteins Must Know How To Fold http://krwg.org/post/if-they-want-make-anything-proteins-must-know-how-fold Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Events unfold. Plots unfold. And this summer, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca has been telling us how science unfolds. It's series we're creatively calling Unfolding Science.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF THEME SONG)<p>BLOCK: Today, Joe tells us about large biological molecules called proteins that have to fold and unfold properly to keep us alive.<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: When we talk about food, protein is a kind of nutrient you get in meat, fish or foul. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:30:00 +0000 Joe Palca 69329 at http://krwg.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes http://krwg.org/post/crispr-way-fix-faulty-genes Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before.<p>"It's really powerful, it's a really exciting development," says <a href="http://profiles.umassmed.edu/profiles/display/129741">Craig Mello</a> of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Joe Palca 69244 at http://krwg.org A CRISPR Way To Fix Faulty Genes Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder http://krwg.org/post/phone-app-might-predict-manic-episodes-bipolar-disorder There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. Sat, 31 May 2014 09:22:00 +0000 Joe Palca 67311 at http://krwg.org Phone App Might Predict Manic Episodes In Bipolar Disorder The First American Teenager, Millennia-Old And Underwater http://krwg.org/post/first-american-teenager-millennia-old-and-underwater Transcript <p>TESS VIGELAND, HOST: <p>From the studios of NPR West in Culver City, California it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'M Tess Vigeland. Let us contemplate the American teenage girl, perhaps the very first one. Apparently, there's been some scientific debate about who she is and whether she hails from the same gene sequence as what we think of as the first Americans, American Indians. And when I say gene sequence, we're not talking about Skinnies from Urban Outfitters. Sun, 18 May 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Joe Palca 66376 at http://krwg.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer http://krwg.org/post/faith-drives-father-create-test-childhood-cancer When Bryan and Elizabeth Shaw learned that their son Noah had a potentially deadly eye cancer, like a lot of people, they turned to their religious faith to help sustain them. But faith is also impelling Bryan Shaw to create software to detect eye cancer in children as soon after birth as possible.<p>The Shaws are Christians, and their faith is extremely important to them. When they were at their bleakest, "Bryan would pull out the Psalms and say, 'This is how King David suffered in the Psalms, and we're going through this," says Elizabeth. Wed, 07 May 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Joe Palca 65594 at http://krwg.org Faith Drives A Father To Create A Test For Childhood Cancer Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis http://krwg.org/post/chemist-turns-software-developer-after-sons-cancer-diagnosis A scientist's ambitious plan to create an early detection system for eye cancer using people's home cameras is coming along.<p>Last fall, we told you about Bryan Shaw's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/05/243189819/how-pictures-of-infant-boys-eyes-helped-diagnose-cancer">scheme</a>. He believes parents' cameras can reveal whether their baby has <a href="http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/67">leukocoria</a>, a white glow coming from the pupil when you shine a light in their eyes. Tue, 06 May 2014 07:37:00 +0000 Joe Palca 65505 at http://krwg.org Chemist Turns Software Developer After Son's Cancer Diagnosis 50 Years Of BASIC http://krwg.org/post/dartmouth-celebrates-50-years-basic-computer-language Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>NPR's Joe Palca is in our studios and he's brought along a piece of paper. Joe, what's it say?<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: It says, let X equal seven plus eight divided by three.<p>INSKEEP: It sounds like kind of a mathematical equation there.<p>PALCA: It's actually a line of computer code and it was part of the first very short program ever run in a language called BASIC.<p>INSKEEP: OK. Which is what we're going to talk about here, because Joe has a project he calls Joe's Big Idea. Thu, 01 May 2014 09:11:00 +0000 Joe Palca 65208 at http://krwg.org The Scientist Who Makes Stars On Earth http://krwg.org/post/scientist-who-makes-stars-earth Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>On the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, scientists are doing something astonishing. They're creating a white dwarf star - not a whole star but enough of one to study in minute detail. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 21:16:00 +0000 Joe Palca 61387 at http://krwg.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick http://krwg.org/post/clean-drinking-water-all-you-need-stick Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.<p>The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.<p>Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.<p>MIT's <a href="http://meche.mit.edu/people/?id=279">Rohit Karnik</a> is a mechanical engineer who works on water technologies. He says it's relatively easy to make membranes that can filter the bacteria out of water. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:14:00 +0000 Joe Palca 61304 at http://krwg.org To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives http://krwg.org/post/inexpensive-aquarium-bubbler-saves-preemies-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:33:00 +0000 Joe Palca 59149 at http://krwg.org Inexpensive Aquarium Bubbler Saves Preemies' Lives Scientists Come Close To Finding True Magnetic Monopole http://krwg.org/post/scientists-come-close-finding-true-magnetic-monopole Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Scientists may have filled in a gap in one the fundamental theories of physics. We've always been told that magnets have two poles, north and south. But theory suggests there should be something called a magnetic monopole, a magnet that has either a north pole or a south pole but not both of them. So far no one has found this elusive magnetic monopole.<p>As part of his project, Joe's Big Idea, NPR's Joe Palca brings us the story of scientists at Amherst College in Massachusetts. They have created a synthetic magnetic monopole. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 10:04:00 +0000 Joe Palca 58953 at http://krwg.org Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity http://krwg.org/post/saving-babies-lives-starts-aquarium-pumps-and-ingenuity <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rGMRdZiOY</p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:52:00 +0000 Joe Palca 57164 at http://krwg.org Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives http://krwg.org/post/coolest-thing-ever-how-robotic-arm-changed-4-lives <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1jbEvhFzQM</p> Thu, 28 Nov 2013 08:05:00 +0000 Joe Palca 54799 at http://krwg.org 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer http://krwg.org/post/how-pictures-infant-boys-eyes-helped-diagnose-cancer Bryan Shaw never expected to write a research paper about a rare eye cancer.<p>He's a <a href="http://www.baylor.edu/chemistry/index.php?id=75907">chemist</a> who works on how <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24066782">metals and proteins interact</a>. But life has a funny way of interrupting the best-laid plans, and now Shaw may be on to a powerful new way to detect <a href="http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/retinoblastoma/blastoma.asp">retinoblastoma</a> in newborns. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 15:48:00 +0000 Joe Palca 53327 at http://krwg.org How Pictures Of Infant Boy's Eyes Helped Diagnose Cancer Jupiter Or Bust, But First A Quick Fly-By Of Home http://krwg.org/post/jupiter-or-bust-first-quick-fly-home After traveling for more than two years and some 1 billion miles, NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter is back where it started. Almost. At 3:21 p.m. ET Wednesday, the Juno space probe will be 347 miles away from Earth, just above the southern tip of Africa.<p>(As an aside, at around 11:30 a.m. ET, it was more than 90,000 miles away.)<p>It's not that Juno got homesick — the return to Earth was a necessity. To send it on a direct path to Jupiter would have required a more powerful rocket than the United Launch Alliance Atlas V-551. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:30:00 +0000 Joe Palca 51485 at http://krwg.org Jupiter Or Bust, But First A Quick Fly-By Of Home Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope http://krwg.org/post/treating-kids-cancer-science-and-pocket-full-hope Try to imagine someone who is supremely calm while at the same time bursting with energy, and you've got a pretty good idea of what <a href="https://www.fhcrc.org/en/diseases/featured-researchers/olson-jim.html">Jim Olson</a> is like.<p>He's a cancer researcher, physician, cyclist, kayaker and cook, not always in that order. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 07:03:00 +0000 Joe Palca 49598 at http://krwg.org Treating Kids' Cancer With Science And A Pocket Full Of Hope Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better http://krwg.org/post/why-painting-tumors-could-make-brain-surgeons-bette Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable things a doctor has to tell patients is that their medical problems are iatrogenic. What that means is they were caused by a doctor in the course of the treatment.<p>Sometime these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 07:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 49489 at http://krwg.org Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere http://krwg.org/post/coronal-holes-rarely-round-gaps-suns-atmosphere There's a hole in the sun's corona. But don't worry — that happens from time to time.<p>"A coronal hole is just a big, dark blotch that we see on the sun in our images," says <a href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/team/team_pesnell.php">Dean Pesnell</a>, project scientist for NASA's <a href="http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/team/team_pesnell.php">Solar Dynamics Observatory</a>. "We can only see them from space, because when we look at them [through] a regular telescope, they don't appear."<p>That's because you have to look at wavelengths of light that the human eye can't see. Thu, 05 Sep 2013 19:38:00 +0000 Joe Palca 49025 at http://krwg.org Coronal Holes: The (Rarely Round) Gaps In The Sun's Atmosphere The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes http://krwg.org/post/inside-story-fear-holes Trypophobia may be moving out of the urban dictionary and into the <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/23/0956797613484937.abstract">scientific literature</a>.<p>A recent study in the peer-review journal <em>Psychological Science</em> takes a first crack at explaining why some people may suffer from a fear of holes.<p>Trypophobia may be hard to find in textbooks and diagnostic manuals, but a brief Web search will show that plenty of people appear to have it.<p>There's even a website, <a href="http://trypophobia.com/">trypophobia.com</a>, that explains the problem like this:<p Wed, 04 Sep 2013 19:45:00 +0000 Joe Palca 48931 at http://krwg.org The Inside Story On The Fear Of Holes Black Holes One Of Space's Great Paradoxes http://krwg.org/post/black-holes-one-spaces-great-paradoxes Late summer tends to be a slow month for news. But at All Things Considered, we put on a two hour program, no matter what. So — without a trace of irony — one of our science correspondents offered to help fill some holes in the show with a series of stories about holes. In this edition: Black holes. Wed, 07 Aug 2013 20:31:00 +0000 Joe Palca 47115 at http://krwg.org A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To? http://krwg.org/post/year-mars-whats-curiosity-been Imagine winning the World Series, the lottery and a Nobel Prize all in one day. That's pretty much how scientists and engineers in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., felt one year ago when the 1 ton, six-wheeled rover named Curiosity landed safely on Mars.<p>Within minutes, the rover began sending pictures back to Earth. Mon, 05 Aug 2013 07:22:00 +0000 Joe Palca 46887 at http://krwg.org A Year On Mars: What's Curiosity Been Up To? If You Want A Doughnut Hole, Don't Ask A Mathematician http://krwg.org/post/if-you-want-donut-hole-dont-ask-mathematician Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>A program such as ours is timed to the exact second, and occasionally, there are small holes when our mix of news and features doesn't quite fill up our two-hour slot.<p>So NPR's Joe Palca offered to come to our rescue with some short math and sciencey hole-filling stories, stories about what else - holes.<p>JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Today, we're going to talk about doughnut holes, those round things you buy in a bakery. Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Joe Palca 46229 at http://krwg.org All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood http://krwg.org/post/all-charged-engineers-create-battery-made-wood The big idea behind <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/156490415/joes-big-idea">Joe's Big Idea</a> is to report on interesting inventions and inventors. Wed, 17 Jul 2013 07:01:00 +0000 Joe Palca 45577 at http://krwg.org All Charged Up: Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood For Sharpest Views, Scope The Sky With Quick-Change Mirrors http://krwg.org/post/sharpest-views-scope-sky-quick-change-mirrors It used to be that if astronomers wanted to get rid of the blurring effects of the atmosphere, they had to put their telescopes in space. But a technology called adaptive optics has changed all that.<p>Adaptive optics systems use computers to analyze the light coming from a star, and then compensate for changes wrought by the atmosphere, using mirrors that can change their shapes up to 1,000 times per second. Mon, 24 Jun 2013 07:01:00 +0000 Joe Palca 43952 at http://krwg.org For Sharpest Views, Scope The Sky With Quick-Change Mirrors Asparagus Helps Lower Blood Pressure (At Least In Rats) http://krwg.org/post/asparagus-helps-lower-blood-pressure-least-rats Here's another reason to eat asparagus, in case you were looking for one.<p>Researchers at the <a href="http://www.eiyo.ac.jp/english/e_index.html">Kagawa Nutrition University</a> in Japan fed a diet consisting of 5 percent asparagus to rats with high blood pressure. Sat, 08 Jun 2013 12:35:00 +0000 Joe Palca 42910 at http://krwg.org Asparagus Helps Lower Blood Pressure (At Least In Rats)